Setting up a Dog Grooming Business: Tips To Get You Started
If you are a dog lover and have a passion for everything related to dogs then you might consider ways for you to get to spend more time with your dog– I know that I do! One of these ideas might be starting a dog grooming business. More owners than ever use a groomer regularly. Of course, venturing into the world of dog grooming is a big step but if it is a dream of yours then there is no reason why you shouldn’t take that next step. As with all businesses, there is an element of research and understanding required to make the right decisions along the way. If you want your dog grooming business to thrive then it can pay to start off the right way and here is how.
Unlike many other industries, there are no legal requirements for you to have qualifications when you become a dog groomer. This might sound positive but you want to make sure that you do everything possible to stand out from your competitors. Pet grooming businesses are highly competitive. You want to offer the best service and gaining quality qualifications can help you do this. When people see that you are well qualified, they are more likely to trust your skills and therefore your business.
There is no substitute for hands-on training in dog grooming. Therefore, it can help to start off by working for a local salon or even volunteer to work in a local kennel. Along the way, you can learn about the importance of making the right start, the importance of pet grooming insurance and what is required to ensure you treat every dog with the care and respect required.
There’s a wealth of learning resources available to access too. The greater your understanding of dogs, the better the service you can provide. Therefore, it can help to learn about dog psychology, their behaviours and the different grooming styles for all breeds of dogs. Everything you do will allow you to provide a complete service that is both professional and understanding. Furthermore, if you want your dog grooming business to stand out then you can use all of this knowledge as a selling point.
Research Your Target Market
As with any business, diving straight in and starting with no prior business is going to leave you facing problems. There are many factors that have to be considered before you begin setting up your business. Pet grooming is growing in popularity and that makes it especially important to carry out the required research.
To begin with, pet grooming involves you dealing with both humans and dogs, so you will need to consider the cusomer service related ro both! You will need to consider your target market because ultimately, it is the dog owners who will determine where they take their dogs to be groomed. Consider:
- People who own breeds that require constant grooming. The reality is that these owners won’t have the ability or skills to groom their pets at home, so they need a salon and professionals that they can rely on.
- There are those who breed dogs and those who have show dogs, both of which will require pet grooming.
- Some owners will not have the ability to take care of their pets because they have a disability or are elderly. Perhaps their dog is simply too large to groom.
- It is common for some owners to want to give their pet flea or parasite treatment while taking advantage of your service
- Owners of dog kennels and pet shops that might offer dog grooming as part of their service might not be able to take care of this themselves. Therefore, they will take you up on your service
- Owners who have been recommended by a vet to have their animal groomed
Stand out from the crowd
On the whole, customers are going to be trusting you with their beloved pet. What this means is that you should do everything possible to show that you offer every animal that you groom the kindness, love and attention they deserve. Listen to the owners and find out about their dogs. Never make negative comments about the appearance of their pet because there is a reason why they have chosen you to groom their pet.
The aim is to determine as much as possible about your potential customers and their pets. You could even join local dog-walking groups or dog owner groups to find out how many people are likely to use their service. Talking with potential customers is a great way of getting your business out there.
Know your competition
The next stage is to determine the demand you can expect. You’ll need to determine whether the demand for groomers is there. It is worth noting that competition has increased, so expect other businesses in the area to be offering something similar. However, this will enable you to see what they are offering, how many customers or followers they have on social media too. You will need to determine who you are going to be competing with, such as:
- Other groomers who are established including those that are mobile groomers who groom dogs at home
- Pet shops and boarding kennels that offer grooming as part of their service
The goal should be to identify other businesses in the area, including mobile dog grooming businesses and see what they are offering in your area. You can use online directories to see how many there are in your area. You will then be able to see how many businesses are located in your area. However, with this information you have found, you will be able to get ahead and find out what they offer, such as:
- The range of services they offer and the level of services too, along with prices
- Their qualifications and knowledge as well as the competence of their staff
- Whether their salon or mobile dog grooming business is modern, smart and clean
Choose a Name For Your Grooming Salon
One of the most enjoyable elements of starting your dog grooming business is finding a name for it. Of course, this can prove challenging too because you want it to be right in every possible way. This part of the process will require some research as you will find plenty of businesses in the same industry that you can use as inspiration. You want to avoid having the same name as other dog grooming businesses as this will cause problems. The aim is to ensure you are unique, memorable and simple. That way, people will find it easier to remember who you are.
Choose a Location
Choosing a location could be one of the hardest parts of the process. You need to consider many different things and this will require research and an understanding of your budget. If you want bricks and mortar business, then it can help to look at other dog grooming providers in the area. What size are their premises? What do they have inside? Do they have holding pens for dogs that have been groomed? How many tables and benches do you need? Are there adequate electrical sockets? There are so many things to think about when you set up.
Furthermore, when people want their dog groomed, they want quick and easy access for dropping off and picking up. Therefore, you should look at where other dog groomers are located. Are they in town centres? Is there adequate parking nearby? Thinking about these things is vital as this will enable you to give your business the best start. People want easy access and simplicity when they choose to take their dog to be groomed, so you need to make things as easy as possible.
You might want to consider offering a mobile service. This can give you a good place to start and grow your business. It provides a convenient option for those who might not be able to get out and about or those who simply don’t have time to take their dog. This will require you to have a vehicle and also the means to provide the service. So, you have the potential to transform a van into a grooming unit but remember to take out modified van insurance. Or groom in the dogs own home which is a anxiety-reducing strategy for many owners. You could even offer to pick up dogs and groom them in your own home where you have a designated space for the work?
Start Advertising Your Business
To ensure that people are aware that you are open as a business or are planning to open, you will need to advertise. Fortunately, there are now more opportunities to advertise than ever before and some can even be free. The aim is to promote your business to as many people as possible while also remaining within budget. So, there are a number of ways that you can advertise your business to other pet owners. Add a Custom QR code to your campaign to increase engagement and connect with your audience.
- Use local newspapers and directories
- Create a website and then use social media to advertise it
- Print leaflets and post them through doors and leave them with other businesses in your area
- Work closely with local vets to advertise your business
- Visit trade shows
- Visit dog breeding shows
- Join social media groups to meet other people and their pets where you can share your business
- Create social media business accounts across all platforms
There are likely to be other dog groomers in your area and that’s the reason why you should aim to reach a wide audience using all possible advertising options available to you.
Types of Dog Grooming Services to Offer
Next think about the services you want to offer. Below are just some of the popular options.
Some dogs have longer coats than others and need regular bathing and cleaning. This service is designed to offer a simple bath and dry that ensures dogs are left looking clean and fresh. You will need to invest in the latest products and ensure that you have all of the equipment required to dry them safely and properly. This will require the installation of baths and a water supply as well as benches and straps to help secure dogs in place while drying them.
Certain breeds of dogs need additional grooming in the form of clipping and scissor cutting. Dogs that tend to have long and thick coats are likely to become dirty while they also moult, leaving fur around the home. Therefore, dog owners will want their pets cut and trimmed regularly to ensure they remain clean and smart looking. This means that you need to have the relevant equipment and the right range of cutting scissors as these are different from standard scissors while there are also specialist dog clippers available.
Stripping is designed to tackle a certain type of coat as opposed to a certain breed. Coats that require hand stripping are those that have two types of hair which include an undercoat that is soft and thin and a topcoat that is long and thick. This process involves removing excess hair by hand as opposed to using the common grooming methods. The fur is removed by the root to create a neater appearance while also making it possible for the topcoat to grow in.
Teeth cleaning is something that dogs are unable to do themselves and so, it is a service that you will have to offer. Just like humans, dogs can suffer from plaque and decay but owners can often find it difficult to clean their teeth. You can choose to use a specialist dog toothbrush and toothpaste and clean them using this method or you can choose to use ultrasonic dental cleaning. This will help to kill bacteria and germs while it will also clean the teeth and gums to help prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar. This can then help to deal with and prevent a range of problems.
Some owners just need a quick manicure regularly as many struggle to do this at home!
In order to provide a full dog grooming service, you will need to have the right tools for the job. With a variety of treatments available and the need to handle dogs correctly, you will need to invest in high-quality equipment that enables you to offer first-class services. There is no point in paying for sub-standard equipment as the services you will offer will only be as good as the tools you use. Therefore you will need some basic equipment which will include:
- A dog grooming table
- Bathing sink
- Nail clippers
- Shampoos, conditioners, detangling sprays
For your business to thrive and grow, you need to offer a great service and gain repeat business. Be the kindest, most attentive groomer you can be. Keep an eye on competitors prices and continue your learning journey to keep your skills fresh.
Final Thoughts on your dog grooming business
Choosing to start a dog grooming business is an exciting prospect. More and more people are now becoming dog owners which means that the demand for dog groomers is on the rise. Of course, this is a competitive industry but that shouldn’t put you off. Your aim should be to focus on carrying out the right research and ensuring you position your business correctly so it competes from the very first day. So, consider your audience, your location, your services, your advertising and even the tools that you need and you’ll soon find that your dog grooming business is going from strength to strength. Good luck!